Coach Brady’s Camp Recap
This week I joined some of the RedEye Velo junior cyclists for their third annual North Georgia Training Camp. This three day camp has become a tradition for them in many ways. It is a great early season jump start to their mileage, a great learning experience and a bonding and team building experience for the entire team. The mountains of North Georgia provide not only some amazing climbing and great views but some challenge that may of these juniors don’t get the opportunity to frequently visit.
We awoke Monday morning to light rain, and temperatures in the low 40’s. After breakfast and delaying for several hours the rain ceased and we bundled up and hopped on our bikes to conquer 3 passes in the cold (Jack’s, Unicoi & Hogpen). With fresh legs everyone was feeling a bit froggy and the goofing off quickly turned into a pace that brought out everyone’s game face and as the road picked up so did the intensity. We summited Jack’s and the speed quickly picked up to 40+mph as we descended the sweeping turns that are on the backside of this climb. As the road kicked up again we knew that Unicoi was our next task. The road went up and the temperature continue to drop, the rain set in and what was once clouds quickly became fog that engulfed the roads ahead of us and made rider’s disappear into the fog as slight gaps formed between the riders. As we summited everyone quickly put on the garmets they had shed for the climb. As everyone slowly snaked their way down the wet, winding mountain roads we regrouped and pressed on with our largest task of the day at hand. Hogpen. The climb that nearly every 6 gap rider dreads. Grades of 8% and up leave you wishing you had an extra gear to shift into and cause you to be out of the saddle more than anyone even desires. The large part of the group stayed together until the start of the KOM segment which marks 10km to go and then I fell off the pace, the sign of minimal riding and a lacking level of fitness. The rest was left up to the pace setting of the remaining 3 riders and from the sounds of it ended in an attack with 1km to go. Tuesday we rode out with sunshine and weather in the mid 40’s. The much appreciated sun meant a warmer feel even without warmer temps. We rolled out planning on doing 60+miles on the day and when we arrived at the base of Wolfpen gap to find a “Road Closed” barricade with a rather serious looking construction worker we were forced to reassess our day’s plan. We decided to climb Neel’s gap instead and as we ascended the sun disappeared. What would come next was more like we had experienced the day before. Cloud cover, fog and rain met us on the way up and as we summited and began our descent we were graced with a bit of sleet as well. By far the coldest descent of the day left us all ready to be done but there was a great deal of work that still had to be done. After a bit of discussion we made the decision to climb back up Neel’s and search for a bit warmer weather. Once we began our descent down we found slightly warmer weather and wrapped up our day with tired legs.
Wednesday consisted of sunny weather and a short climb up Jack’s. Everyone was quick to express how fatigued their legs felt and it was apparent that motivation was low since a rotating pace line turned into only two riders with everyone else hanging off the back. After some clean up and packing we hopped back in the cars for the long 6.5 hour drive back to Tallahassee. As we reflected on the past three days we discussed the importance of hydration and nutrition, particularly as the weather gets cold and our senses and desire to drink something cold decreases. We also talked about the riders’ need for a greater focus on nutrition. As good as Skittles, cookies and Cheez-its are off the bike (wish I would have taken a photo of what they inhaled) they were not our focus of this weeks’ nutrition discussions. Some of the athletes are training with power meters and we discussed the utilization of power meters to accurately track calorie expenditure and how each athlete can better use this data during their training and racing to stay sharp and keep energy levels high. Thank you Redeye Velo for the opportunity to be a part of such a great camp and we thank you even more for allowing us to be a proud sponsor for another year!